Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Day of Future Past: MIT has reprinted an article from 1950 about what the next 50 years would be like. Fascinating stuff. They got some very right, like this description of what came to be a microwave:

[The] expansion of the frozen-food industry and the changing gastronomic habits of the nation have made it necessary to install in every home the electronic industrial stove which came out of World War II. Jane Dobson has one of these electronic stoves. In eight seconds a half-grilled frozen steak is thawed; in two minutes more it is ready to serve.

And some stuff very wrong:

It is easy enough to spot a budding hurricane in the doldrums off the coast of Africa. Before it has a chance to gather much strength and speed as it travels westward toward Florida, oil is spread over the sea and ignited. There is an updraft. Air from the surrounding region, which includes the developing hurricane, rushes in to fill the void. The rising air condenses so that some of the water in the whirling mass falls as rain.

Only a futurist could imagine a constructive oil spill. Good read. Check it out.